International PEN protests the threats issued against El Diario de los Altos editor Miguel Ángel Casillas in Jalisco State in March 2009. The threats allegedly come from Los Zetas, a paramilitary criminal gang linked to drug traffickers, on behalf of a local politician, after the newspaper was critical of a dam project in the area. PEN calls on the authorities to provide safety measures for Casillas, his family and other journalists at the newspaper and to carry out a full investigation into the threats.

Background Information

The following was issued  by Amnesty International on March 25, 2009:

On 18 March, Miguel Angel Casillas received an anonymous call on his mobile from a man saying “We know who you are, where you live, where you go, who your family are and we want to know how you are going to cooperate with us” (sabemos quién es usted, sabemos dónde vive, sabemos cómo se mueve, sabemos quién es su familia y queremos saber cómo piensa colaborar con nosotros). The caller insinuated that he was acting on the behalf of a politician who wished to damage Miguel Angel Casillas and added that “from this point on you and your family are at risk” (corre peligro a partir de ahora, usted y su familia).

The day before receiving the anonymous phonecall, Miguel Angel Casillas noticed that both his personal email and that of the newspaper he works for had been hacked. The hackers had left a message stating that “Today the email of the newspaper has been kidnapped. Careful what you publish we don’t want to hurt anyone. Regards from Jalisco State Congress, from a friend that likes you a lot and is watching anxiously over you. Rightist Jalisco". (Hoy el secuestro fue del korreo elektonico del medio kuidado kon lo ke publican no keremos lastimar a nadie. Saludos desde el congreso de Jalisco de un amigo que te quiere mucho y te vigila con ansias de encontrarte. Yunque Jalisco)

Miguel Angel Casillas has submitted a official complaint with the Jalisco State Public Prosecutor’s Office and the State Human Rights Commission.

The project to build el Zapotillo dam in Jalisco state on the Rio Verde has led to concern among local communities, particularly those of Temacapulín, Palmarejo and Acasico which will be flooded. Despite previous commitments by the state government to consult the public on the project, the Diario de los Altos and local human rights organizations have been critical of the project and the failure of the authorities to consult adequately with local communities or provide reliable and detailed information on impact and compensation packages.

Write A Letter

  • Calling for protection measures to be implemented for Miguel Angel Casillas Báez, his family and other journalists at the Diario de los Altos in accordance with their wishes;
  • Requesting that the authorities instigate a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation into the email and telephone threats against Miguel Angel Casillas, including any possible links to local politicians, and for the results to be made public so that those responsible are held accountable;
  • Reminding the authorities to fulfill their obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and ensure that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals.

Send Your Letter To

Governor of Jalisco
Emilio González Márquez
Gobernador del Estado de Jalisco
Palacio de Gobierno,
Av. Corona No. 31, Planta Baja
Col. Centro
Guadalajara C.P. 44100
Estado de Jalisco
Fax: (+52 33) 36 48 1601/02
Salutation: Dear Governor/ Señor Gobernador

Attorney General of Jalisco
Lic. Tomás Coronado Olmos
Procurador del Estado de Jalisco
Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado
Calle 14 no. 2567
Colonia Zona Industrial
Guadalajara, C.P. 44940
Estado de Jalisco
Salutation: Dear Attorney/ Señor Procurador
Minister of Interior

Lic. Fernando Francisco Gómez-Mont Urueta
Secretaría de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso,
Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc,
México D.F., C.P.06600, MEXICO
Fax: +52 55 5093 3414
Salutation: Señor Secretario/Dear Minister

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Mexico in your country if possible.
Please contact PEN if sending appeals after May 6, 2009: ftw [at] pen.or